For 2014, the Tribeca Distruptive Innovators Awards recognized the entire city of Pittsburgh. The nod was in recognition of Pittsburgh’s forward-thinking education initiatives as advanced through two initiatives here:  Kids+Creativity and Remake Learning.

Both focus heavily on the idea that hands-on learning is effective learning. That in order to make thinkers, we must first make “makers.”

Reading through the honorees list of mostly singular founders, CEOs and organizations, “The City of Pittsburgh” seems quite broad. But in a new education blog on Tribeca’s website, it’s made clear why Pittsburgh’s evolving education system has to be credited to the city as a whole.

“Pittsburgh has a legacy of innovation that stems directly from the maker ethic—we were a maker city before they had a name for it! But even after our transition from heavy industry to high tech innovation, the hands-on, do-it-yourself spirit lives on in Pittsburgh. From bootstrapping entrepreneurs working in the TechShop, to amateur inventors tinkering away at community maker spaces like Open Floor, Pittsburghers are making new things every day.”

The blog was written by Pittsburgh natives Cathy Lewis Long and Gregg Behr, with help from Jane Werner. Both Long, founding executive director of the Sprout Fund, and Behr, executive director of the Grable Foundation are leaders of the Remake Learning council.

The blog begins: “As Pittsburgh kids returned to school last week, many entered classrooms that most of us wouldn’t recognize from our student days. Public schools all across the Pittsburgh region are integrating maker learning into their classrooms as a way to inspire creativity and engage students in collaborative problem solving.”

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Photo by The Sprout Fund

The authors continue, outlining the dizzying amount of people and projects who are devoting their time to Pittsburgh’s “maker movement,” including Mayor Bill Peduto’s recent Maker Movement Roundtable.

To name just a few, the blog highlights Elizabeth Forward Middle School’s Dream Factory, Avonworth High School’s 21st Century Collaboration Center, the Children’s Innovation Project, the Children’s Museum’s MAKESHOP, the University of Pittsburgh’s UPCLOSE program, the East End’s Assemble, and Remake Learning’s Digital Corps of young educators.

The blog post (which we hope is the first of many) makes it easy to see why Pittsburgh’s advances in education are nothing short of a colossal group effort.

You can read the full article here.

Rebekah Zook

Rebekah Zook is a Duquesne grad and all-around story-telling enthusiast. A former fellow at WESA, she worked as a production assistant for their daily talk show. Most recently, she taught in the Propel Charter School system as a visiting artist. When she isn’t writing, Rebekah is a trip leader for the local non-profit organization Venture Outdoors. You can usually find her in a bright yellow kayak.